The Internet is a strange place – it can bring down the worth of billionaires, fluctuate stock markets, make anyone viral overnight – and come together to help people around the world in need. Reddit’s subreddit r/WallStreetBets is reinforcing this phenomenon.
The subreddit, which gained fame early this year when the subreddit led to a surge in American videogame company GameStop’s shares soaring over 400% that week, after aggressive touting of GameStop’s stock by several of its members.
Now the community is giving back by donating to a gorilla conservation fund. Gorillas have now become the central focus of the movement, with of r/wallstreet trying to help with their adoptions.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the major recipient, is one of the largest and longest-running group in the world that focuses specifically on Gorilla protection, habitat conservation as well as scientific research.
“We operate the longest-running gorilla research site in the world, the Karisoke Research Center. Most of what is known about gorillas is based on studies conducted at Karisoke over the past 50 years. Our research also focuses on understanding many of the unique animals and plants that also call these forests home,” reads the website.
It started when a user posted that they had sent a donation to the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund that allowed them to ceremoniously “adopt” their own gorilla. The post got over 100,000 upvotes and soon the rest of the community joined in.
At the time of writing this, the subreddit has raised over 300,000 dollars in funds for gorilla conservation.
🚨WE HAVE NEWS 🚨 It’s safe to say that the #investor community on @reddit is not traditionally who we think of as our supporter base. But they definitely surprised and overwhelmed us over the weekend. A THREAD. @CNN @CNBC @business @WSJ pic.twitter.com/JRB1Gj1Mub— Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (@SavingGorillas) March 15, 2021
The director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund also released a video thanking r/wallstreetbets for the number of gorilla adoptions that were being made on behalf of the group.
She also shared a message, “So far, you apes have raised over $100k for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. They are so so grateful for all of your support. I’ve been talking to Tara and the mods here, and we’d like to give you guys an update next week about how much we raised and what the donations will be used towards. Thank you all again. This is the best community on Reddit.”
But there is another reason gorilla is the choice of the subreddit. The monkey connection comes from “ape gang,” an internal nickname for the subreddit, referencing the idea that the group is similar to a bunch of monkeys pressing buttons on a keyboard to buy stocks. Users frequently spam posts with gorilla emojis to allude to their “ape gang.”
Missed out on why r/WallStreetBets had shot to popularity? Here’s a small explainer.